Top seed Novak Djokovic took the first step along the path that many expect will lead to his fifth Australian Open title with a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene.
Djokovic, the heavy favourite to win the season opening grand slam after a superb second half of 2014, barely raised a sweat in his victory over the 25-year-old Bedene, who received courtside medical treatment early in the third set.
The 27-year-old Serb had little trouble against Bedene, who lost the Chennai final last week to Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, winning the match in 109 minutes.
He will now face either Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov or Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the next round.
Bidding to become the second man to win five Australian Open titles, and touted by pundits and fellow players as the man to beat, Djokovic put in just enough effort to beat Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-2 6-4 in a shade under two hours.
“For a first round performance it was pretty good,” said Djokovic, who has been dogged by a virus this month. “Still need to work on some things. I’m still developing my game so I’m glad to go through.
“It has been a rough two weeks health-wise but I’m getting there.”